Who doesn’t like a bit of chocolate.
We know that too much can be bad for us, but so are most things, right?
That doesn’t mean that a little bit of chocolate every now and again will do us any harm.
But how about our pets? Surly a mouse would love a little bit of chocolate, wouldn’t they?
Well, before you give your mouse any chocolate I suggest you take a look at this article. I’ve done some research on whether mice can eat chocolate and the results are rather concerning.
In this article, I’ll tell you what I know about whether mice can eat chocolate, whether mice should eat chocolate, whether they even like chocolate and what could happen if your mouse does eat chocolate.
Mice can eat chocolate in small quantities. However; due to the high sugar content mice will be attracted to chocolate so it is important to not let your mouse have access to lots of chocolate as it could pose a health risk.
But just because your mouse can eat chocolate doesn’t necessarily mean they should.
I’ll give my opinion on whether mice should eat chocolate near the bottom of the article, but first, let’s explore some of the main questions about mice and chocolate.
Is chocolate toxic to mice
Chocolate is slightly toxic to mice, although small amounts will be fine.
The toxic component of chocolate is called theobromine.
Theobromine is actually toxic to all animals. But as some animals, including humans, are able to metabolize theobromine quickly it isn’t an issue for them.
It’s thought that mice metabolize theobromine at a similar rate to humans, which means there isn’t much of a toxicity risk to mice from eating chocolate.
If theobromine does build up to toxic levels your mouse may suffer from tremors, seizures, irregular heartbeat, internal bleed and even a cardiac arrest. However, it’s very unlikely that theobromine could reach those levels in a mouse.
The worst chocolates for this toxin are the stronger ones, dark chocolate and cooking chocolate poses a particularly high risk to your mouse.
That brings me onto the next question, will your mouse even want to eat chocolate?
Do mice eat chocolate
Mice will definitely eat chocolate if given the opportunity.
Mice love sweet foods, they are their favorite types of foods to eat and they will actively hunt them out.
In fact, mice are way more attracted to chocolate than other stereotypical mouse foods such as cheese (which mice aren’t actually that bothered about).
Chocolate is even often used as bait in mouse traps (I know as a mouse owner you probably don’t want to hear about baiting mice but it proves the point!).
So yes, mice absolutely will eat the sweeter milk chocolates if given the chance.
However, mice tend to avoid bitter foods. cocoa beans, from which chocolate is made, are actually very bitter so mice would avoid those in the wild.
Helpfully, that means that your mouse will probably ignore darker chocolate, which contains more cocoa and thus more theobromine.
These chocolates are much more bitter and less sweet than milk chocolate and your mouse won’t really be interested in them.
That works in their favour as it means they will naturally ignore chocolate containing high levels of the theobromine toxin.
Does chocolate kill mice instantly
Chocolate doesn’t pose much of a toxic threat to mice so they are unlikely to die even if they ate quite a large amount of chocolate.
Mice are able to metabolize theobromine at a similar rate to humans, theobromine is the substance in chocolate that is toxic and therefore mice aren’t in much danger of dying from its toxic effect.
Theobromine has to build up in the body to pose a threat. Some animals, like dogs, metabolize theobromine very slowly and so it quickly builds up, but mice should be fine.
Added to that, mice will generally avoid dark chocolate anyway due to its bitter taste. Dark chocolate contains much more theobromine than milk chocolate so in effect they naturally ignore the most dangerous types of chocolate.
The largest threat your mouse has from eating chocolate is the health impact we ourselves experience from over-indulgence, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
How much chocolate does a mouse have to eat to die
Chocolate is not very toxic to mice as they are able to metabolize theobromine, the toxic element of chocolate, at a rate similar to humans.
They will also actively avoid stronger, bitter dark chocolate that contains higher levels of theobromine.
Therefore, there is little risk of your mouse dying from the toxic effects of chocolate.
However, eating chocolate does, of course, pose the risk of excess fat and sugar.
If a mouse were to eat chocolate on a regular basis they could quickly develop negative health effects such as obesity, increased blood pressure and heart disease.
I would recommend that you only ever give a small amount of chocolate to your mouse as a treat, very infrequently. Around half an inch square, no more than every fortnight should be ok.
You should also ensure that your mouse has plenty of opportunities to exercise inside and outside its cage.
Can mice eat dark chocolate
Mice will generally avoid dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains the highest levels of theobromine, the toxic element of chocolate.
Although your mouse is able to metabolize theobromine very quickly, there is little point in giving your mouse dark chocolate anyway as they don’t particularly like the bitter taste and there is an increased risk of theobromine poisoning.
Can mice eat milk chocolate
Mice can eat small amounts of milk chocolate.
As mice can metabolize theobromine very quickly, milk chocolate poses little to no threat of being toxic to your mouse.
The main threat comes from the fat and sugar content of the chocolate, which is far greater than a mouse needs in a balanced diet.
Therefore, if you do want to give your mouse some milk chocolate, I would recommend giving them a small piece of milk chocolate (that they can hold in their hands) no more than every two weeks.
Can mice eat chocolate cake
I would recommend not giving your mouse chocolate cake.
Although chocolate cake is unlikely to be toxic for your mouse, it will be hard to keep track of the exact ingredients that have been used to make it and even a homemade chocolate cake will be extremely high in sugar.
Shop bought cakes could pose other risks. The sweetener Xylitol, for example, is known to be toxic to many animals, even though it is perfectly safe for humans, so I just don’t think feeding your mouse cake is worth the risk.
Should you feed your mouse chocolate
Most of this article has been about answering whether your mouse can eat chocolate.
However, the question of whether they should eat it is a little different.
Yes, mice can eat chocolate quite safely. However, I would generally recommend not feeding your mouse chocolate as a treat.
Instead it’s better to find a sweet, healthy alternative.
I particularly like bell peppers as they are very sweet and crunchy, both qualities your mouse will enjoy, but they are also packed with nutrients.
I’ve actually written an article about mice and pepper that you can look at here.
A final note – All mice are different
You should still remember that some mice will find certain food more difficult to stomach than other mice.
Some mice may struggle to digest certain foods, especially older mice.
Wherever feeding your mouse a new food, including chocolate, always watch them for a day or so for any signs of digestive issues.
Digestive issues can be hard to spot in mice, but noticeable things could be diarrhoea or a sharp reduction in activity levels.
If you notice any unusual symptoms or behavior it’s probably worth not feeding your mouse chocolate again and trying a different treat, their stomach just might not agree with it.